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Smart Forecast

The profile of future smartphones is beginning to materialize.

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This story appears in the June 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Aren't cell phones great? Nothing beats them for voice calls. But being able to hum a few ring tones and store character-based games in memory doesn't exactly earn the label smart--even with a great camera thrown in. The average cell's not-so-graphical interface--lots of clicks down hierarchical menus--is positively Neanderthal. And data entry? Punch "7" four times for the letter s, eight times for capital S. Sorry, but you're really not so smart, phones.

If anyone is going to teach these savants new tricks, it will probably be Hewlett-Packard, says Todd Kort, mobile analyst for Gartner Inc. HP already has the fastest-selling family of smart PDAs, including the iPAQ h6315 smartphone for GSM/GPRS networks, and will soon add the iPAQ Mobile Messenger for broadband EDGE networks. It won't differ drastically from the h6315. Lay it alongside PalmOne's best-selling Treo 650, and the profile of future smartphones starts to materialize. Similarly snazzy in silver and blue, the h6315 has roughly the same knobs, navigation wheel and 6.5-ounce-ish weight as Treo, and is within a half-inch on every dimension. Both devices dial in at $500 to $600.

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